Belfast Telegraph

Washington event for Northern Ireland hymn-writing couple

US Vice-President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, with hymn writers Ken Tada and Joni Eareckson, Kristyn and Keith Getty, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC
US Vice-President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, with hymn writers Ken Tada and Joni Eareckson, Kristyn and Keith Getty, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC
Alf McCreary

By Alf McCreary

Internationally-acclaimed hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty teamed up with US Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife Karen to present a special award.

The husband and wife from Northern Ireland handed over the accolade to Joni Eareckson Tada at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Joni, a leading advocate for people with disability and whose story became a feature film, received the inaugural Sing!-Lifetime Achievement Award at a sold-out Irish Christmas concert in the Kennedy Center featuring the Gettys. Joni survived a serious diving accident in 1967 which left her a quadriplegic, and breast cancer in 2010.

She maintains an active Christian ministry, with programmes for special needs families, churches and communities.

Keith Getty said: "No one has inspired us more than Joni in showing how singing beautifully and critically binds life and faith together.

"From our early days in Northern Ireland listening to her albums and hearing her story, she has profoundly shaped how we understand the gift of singing is, to all of us. She embodies life in all its fullness, and is the model to the next generation of those who are leading church music."

The Gettys' 'Sing! - An Irish Christmas Tour' schedule has included Chicago Symphony Center and the Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as dates in Missouri, Michigan and Indiana. The tour ends in Nashville.

Keith Getty, from Lisburn, and his hymn-writing partner and wife Kristyn, were behind In Christ Alone, voted third in the BBC Songs of Praise poll for Britain's best-loved hymns.

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